The legal ways rich families tip the scales to get their kids into college  | Education

For example, Del Pilar notes that when he was a college admissions officer the school he worked for gave extra consideration to students who had traveled internationally.

Ironically, many of the schools involved in the admissions scheme are also members of the American Talent Initiative, an effort aimed at getting more low- and moderate-income students into colleges.

Del Pilar said such efforts are starting to yield results, but added that more can be done. He said the recent scandal should have more policymakers talking about ways to widen access, such as expanding race-based and income-based admissions.

“If this doesn’t make the case for affirmative action, I don’t know what other evidence we need,” he said. “The headlines are about the cheaters of the system but there’s not many headlines about those being cheated.”

Dallas mother Angelica Chavez, already worries about getting her two daughters into college though they’re still in elementary school. She and her husband want them to have an edge, too.

One daughter attends the School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove and the other Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary. Chavez tells them to work hard so they can earn scholarships one day. Meanwhile, she’s researching DISD’s early college programs and other opportunities to help them along the way.

But this week’s news reminds her of the challenges ahead and that her kids will be competing with others who have more resources.

“Some of us don’t make a lot of money,” she said, noting that her husband’s construction work can suddenly come to a halt during bad weather. “It makes you feel like, ‘What’s the purpose of me working so hard for my child to have a better chance to go to that school and get that spot when here comes somebody that has money — who’s paying for someone to take their child’s test — so they can get in the easy way and my child loses her spot? That’s sad. I know they want the best for their child, but they were doing it the wrong way.”

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